Finally, after days of waiting, flight group #1 was able to have a full flight! Flyers assembled at 8am in the briefing room for the fifth time this week and were told good news for the weather and plane conditions. Drugs were again administered, with Cameron taking a much lower dose due to the severity of his side effects from previous two doses. We boarded the plane with a sense of familiarity, but excitement.
We didn’t have as much time on the plane since we had already attempted two flights (the plane costs about $40,000 an hour, and the program does have a budget), so we were only going to perform 23 microgravity parabolas instead of the typical 30. We made great time with our tests and fell into a natural pattern until a small disaster struck. Two of the four gloves Nick and Cameron used to access our experiment inside of the glove box were caught by the centrifuge and sliced open. Despite sealing them with tape to prevent regolith from leaking into the fuselage, they were rendered unusable, leaving only one glove for each person. Luckily, we were able to finish nearly all the tests we wanted and were able to spend the last few parabolas enjoying our time in microgravity. We conducted one test in lunar gravity and jumped around as much as we could in martian gravity on our last parabola.
After much anticipation and envious looks at flight group #1, flight group #2 (Julianna, Chris, and Harbin) was finally given the chance to flight suit up at 1:00 on Thursday for an anticipated flight time of 2:30. However, shear winds delayed the flight and the group was forced to wait another 2 hours for a flight departure time of 4:30. Luckily, the weather cleared up and the flight departed on schedule! Drugs were administered by Doc Locke at 3:45 and the crew boarded at about 4:20.
On the flight, Doc Locke flew around and fought his nemesis, motion sickness. Harbin and Chris manned the gloves, which were reduced to one glove apiece, while Julianna manned the control station. The first several parabolas were used to acclimatize to both the microgravity environment and the 2-G environment. The following parabola was used to get into the gloves. The first test went very well, and was executed perfectly. The second container yielded some problems because the valves would not open. This test was aborted to attempt again in later parabolas. One more sorting container had the same problem with the impossible to open valves. Of the 7 sorting containers, 5 were conducted successfully. There was one “kill” (incident of vomit) on the flight, but not from the AstroDawgs. Looks like the AstroDawgs were meant for space!